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Algebra for All
January 7, 2016
In first ‘Algebra for All’ effort, city will push schools to centralize fifth grade math
City officials want more fifth-graders to learn math from teachers chosen to focus on the subject, rather than their general classroom teachers.
December 23, 2015
School segregation debates grabbed New York headlines in 2015. Now what?
Four questions facing New York City and those pushing to better integrate its schools in 2016.
the segregation situation
September 17, 2015
Is reversing school segregation possible in New York City? Expert panel weighs in
“I can’t figure out how you would do this below the high school level,” Norm Fruchter said.
Updated July 23, 2015
Report: Many NYC high schools don’t offer advanced math and science courses
A new report finds that nearly 4 in 10 city high schools do not offer algebra II and both physics and chemistry.
February 13, 2013
As schools' closure hearings begin, their students get a way out
Students who attend schools the city is shuttering for poor performance will be allowed to leave, under a new policy that the Department of Education is rolling out at school closure hearings that begin tonight. For the last decade, the Department of Education has closed schools — more than 150 in all — through a phase-out process in which no new students enter but existing students stay on until they graduate, up to three years after the closure decision. By the time the schools finally close their doors, only barebones staff and program offerings remain for the final students. "The past policy was sort of like saying, 'We’re going to get divorced in two years but we have to live together until then.' It was not tenable," said Clara Hemphill, who has reported about the impact of closures on schools and students as the editor of Insideschools. "It seems only fair that children should not be trapped in a school that the DOE has deemed to be failing." Now, the department will give each student in phaseout schools a list of higher-performing schools to which they can apply as part of the regular transfer process. When the department decides which transfer requests to approve, students from phaseout schools will be assigned first, starting with the neediest students who are looking for a new school.
September 26, 2011
Diverse approaches to admissions labyrinth on view at HS fair
Eighth-graders and their parents began queuing up outside Brooklyn Technical High School on Saturday an hour before the annual citywide high school fair's start time, and by 9:45 a.m. a long line of families wrapped around the block. When the doors opened at 10 a.m., they poured into the stuffy building, some of the tens of thousands of families that passed through the fair this weekend. Inside, Brooklyn Tech's eight stories were something of a labyrinth — but no more so than the high school admissions process itself. Parents and students that we met outlined varying strategies for navigating the fair and the journey to high school. Laura Napiza with daughter Samantha, left, who wants to be a teacher Laura Napiza and her daughter Samantha tried traversing the hallways but seemed completely lost. “We just got here and it’s very overwhelming,” Laura Napiza said. “We’re looking for a high school with a strong academic program that also has something that she’d be interested in. Right now she wants to be a teacher.” They said their goal was to visit the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts, and the Sciences and Maspeth High School — if they could find those tables. Saying they planned to inquire about graduation rates, student-to-teacher ratios and extracurricular options, the mother and daughter disappeared into the melee. Spencer Jackson and Beverly Brailsford creating a plan of attack for the fair Beverly Brailsford and her son Spencer Jackson came in with a clear plan of action: Head straight to the seventh floor and methodically work downwards, hitting only the schools with strong academic programs and track and field teams. First, though, the pair found a quiet hallway where they could sit down and prepare. With the high school directory in her lap, a pen in her hand, and a notebook turned to a fresh page, Brailsford took notes on schools such as Aviation High School and Medgar Evers College Preparatory School while Jackson played on his phone. “I think it’s more of a mom thing,” Brailsford said of the process. “As long as they have what he’s into, it works for him.”
November 1, 2010
City's online guide to schools joins up with The New School
The website InsideSchools, which for years has provided independent information about schools for parents and teachers, has found a new home at The New School. Founded in 2002 by Pamela Wheaton and Clara Hemphill, the site and its staff will be based out of the Center for New York City Affairs at the university, where Hemphill currently works. And as part of the move, the co-founders are retooling the site — updating its look and writing reviews that cater to parents who don't have perfect English. "The idea is that we want to make the site more accessible to people who don't read very well and who might not speak English, so we're going to try to have videos and pictures and try to have less text," said Hemphill, the site's senior editor, in a phone interview today. "Of the schools the chancellor has opened, most of them are really geared for at-risk kids, so we wanted to make it easier for kids who have kind of limited reading levels to navigate," she said.
April 26, 2010
Teaching division to disappear in latest DOE reshuffling
The Division of Teaching and Learning is set to disappear under the latest reorganization at the city's education department. The move is part of a slate of changes intended to streamline the department's organization, according to spokesman David Cantor. He called the changes, which include the creation of a deputy chancellor for community engagement position, "an organic next step" in the series of administrative shifts that have taken place under Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. The teaching and learning office, which is on its fourth leader since 2007, is getting folded into the Division of School Support, which contains the network structure that currently manages how schools receive administrative assistance. The new office will be called the Division of School Support and Instruction and will be headed by Chief Schools Officer Eric Nadelstern, giving him authority over the central piece of schools' business for the first time. "Obviously the aim is to make instruction as effective as can be, but I don't think anyone's going to see any kind of sudden shift in the way we go about teaching kids, and nor do we want that," Cantor said. "The point is just to help do what we're good at better." Under the changes, which will finish taking effect by July 1, the current head of teaching and learning, Santiago Taveras, will become the first-ever community engagement czar. Leaving behind his instructional past, Taveras will manage how the department presents to the public proposals that are set to come before the city school board, known as the Panel for Educational Policy.
June 17, 2009
Report: City's small schools push damaged large high schools
The city's drive to open new small high schools has taken a serious toll on older, larger schools, and there are signs that the new schools' success could be short-lived, according to a report being released today. The report, an analysis of the small schools bonanza by the Center for New York City Affairs, concludes that the city must do more to support large high schools, which continue to enroll the vast majority of city high school students despite the proliferation of small schools, and which are straining under the burden of enrolling the system's neediest students. At the core of the report is the finding that as small schools opened, large schools nearby suffered huge jumps in enrollment, especially among low-performing students and students with special needs. Those schools have seen attendance decline, disorder increase, and graduation rates drop, according to the report. In some places, these shifts have caused the city to restructure the newly troubled large schools, displacing at-risk students once again, the report concludes. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told researchers that he understands that his strategy of closing low-performing schools and replacing them with new options could inflict some collateral damage on large high schools. "This is about improving the system, not necessarily about improving every single school," he said about the strategy at the center of his reforms since he took office in 2003. The report backs up the city's claim that the small schools graduate their students in higher numbers, but it raises questions about how long the schools can sustain their success.
January 12, 2009
What's important about Shelly Silver's Joel Klein-phobia
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (via Flickr) The New York Post's headline today — "SILVER IS DISIN-KLEIN-ED" — is a fun, gossipy way of getting at a really important story. The thing is, it's not just Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Assembly, who doesn't like Joel Klein. Many of Silver's colleagues in the legislature are in the same boat. I first cataloged the grievances of a list of state senators and Assembly members in August. That was more than a year after an assemblyman from the Bronx, Ruben Diaz Sr., became the first public official to call on Bloomberg to fire Klein. Since then, I haven't found any lawmakers who don't complain about Klein. In fact, I've actually met one state senator, Kevin Parker of Brooklyn, who ideologically is in line with the administration, but opposes its reforms. The best explanation for this bad blood that the Post provides is this one, from "an official who knows both men": "You have two guys who both think they're the smartest guy in the room. Those two guys aren't going to like each other." But my understanding is that there's more than personalities at play here. There's a substantive difference in policy.
December 9, 2008
High school admissions: Enough about the middle class already
Today’s Times story on Clara Hemphill is a cute and concise portrait of the challenges the city’s complicated high school admissions process pose to…
December 8, 2008
Remainders: Darling-Hammond says wait 'til next week, and more
Malcolm Gladwell considers teacher quality in this week’s New Yorker. Hendrik Hertzberg endorses class size reduction. Diane Ravitch asks how to expand…
October 21, 2008
Report: Missing school, common in NYC, sets kids up for failure
High school students are not the only ones missing school. Chronic absenteeism in the elementary grades is a major problem, too, especially in districts…
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